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Kids' surgery center planned
The $4.3-million pediatric surgical facility off SR 54 could open as soon as June.
By JODIE TILLMAN, Times Staff Writer
Published January 23, 2008
ODESSA - Pasco parents whose children need anything from ear tubes to a tonsillectomy will soon have a new close-to-home option.
Pediatric Surgery Centers, headed by a former chief of staff at All Children's Hospital, is expected to open as early as June.
The $4.3-million, 18,000-square-foot outpatient surgical facility will be off State Road 54, just east of Gunn Highway.
The Pasco center will be a larger version of the multispecialty Pediatric Surgery Centers located in Brandon, which opened in 2005 and treats about 3,000 children a year.
Typical procedures in Brandon include ear, nose and throat-related surgeries, minor plastic surgery and orthopedic surgery.
The centers are not affiliated with a hospital or university, but are owned by a group of investors and doctors, including medical director Dr. Glenn Vaughn, who served as chief of staff at All Children's from 2001 to 2003.
The facilities are designed by pediatric doctors and nurses to have a more child- and family-friendly atmosphere than hospitals or other outpatient surgery centers, Vaughn said.
Like the Brandon center, the Pasco facility will feature bright decor and child-sized surroundings and take what the company calls a "more relaxed approach" to certain hospital policies, such as visitation and parental involvement in preoperative and recovery care.
"It's a ton of little things that keep a little kid from being alarmed," Vaughn said.
Outpatient surgical centers aimed just at children are rare.
Vaughn said Tuesday that as far as he knows his facilities are the only stand-alone pediatric surgery centers in Florida.
All Children's has a same-day surgery center, called SurgiKid of Florida, at its Tampa campus. The hospital's center on Rowan Road in New Port Richey sends children to the main hospital for surgical procedures.
Cindy Rose, marketing director for All Children's, said she wasn't concerned that the Pasco surgery center would take away business from the hospital. She said she expected the hospital to continue drawing a large number of patients.
She declined to say much about the Pediatric Surgery Centers, noting that the doctors there also practice at All Children's.
When deciding on a second location, Pediatric Surgery Centers analyzed ZIP codes of its patients and looked at high-growth areas for families. After that analysis, Vaughn said, property near the Suncoast Parkway became an obvious choice.
The doctors' group, under the name VOCA Realty Inc., purchased the nearly 5-acre property in February 2006 for $660,000, according to county records.
Creative Contractors Inc. of Clearwater is building the facility, which will include operating rooms, nurse stations, exam rooms, a lobby and administrative spaces.
The pediatric centers take many private insurance plans as well as Medicaid, Vaughn said.
In addition to the kid-friendly elements, parents might choose the centers for cost reasons - insurance co-pays are typically lower at an outpatient center than at a hospital. Because the centers are small, there are rarely delays or long waits, Vaughn said.
"We can get people in and out in a much quicker and more planned fashion," he said.